Re: Interim meetings - changing the way we work

Lou Berger <> Thu, 26 February 2015 22:12 UTC

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Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:12:06 -0500
From: Lou Berger <>
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To: "Thomas D. Nadeau" <>
Subject: Re: Interim meetings - changing the way we work
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On 2/26/2015 4:48 PM, Thomas D. Nadeau wrote:
>> On Feb 26, 2015:4:30 PM, at 4:30 PM, Joel M. Halpern <> wrote:
>> Thomas, if participants who can not make the conference calls are obliged to listen to the full recordings to get the key points of what has happened, why, what are the questions, and similar issues that need to be visible to the WG, then we are not running an inclusive process that allows for participation by the range of individuals we need.
> 	That is the problem. We're really only geared to have full-on, in person meetings all the time. That does not lend itself to being flexible/agile.  That is not to say that I want to exclude anyone, but to be fair, if a subset of people want to move a pile of work forward, we shouldn't ENCOURAGE that behavior not stifle.

It sounds to that you are describing design team meetings (or, in some
cases, an authors meetings).  I'm not sure what makes folks think that
the only way folks can collaborate is via the mail list or full on
interim meetings. 

>> There is a reason that the IETF distinguishes between design teams meetings, where the design team has to explain their work carefully to the WG, and working group meetings.  There has always been a problem of not getting as much context as we would like from the WG minutes.  But since we explicitly take all resolutions to the list, this is ameliorated by folks being able to ask for explanations, by those issues being taken to the list promptly, and by the fact that we only met 3 times a year.  If you have bi-weekly calls and the WG can not tell what is going on with those calls, then what you have is a design team.  And then the folks involved need to own up to it as a design team, understand that they need to explain to the list what they have analyzed, their reasoning, and their conclusions.
> 	Design teams should be able to work asynchronously, but with fixed schedules and not have to have everything explicitly documented at every step. 
100% agree.

I've been involved in many of such meetings (conf calls, webex, etc.)
and the key is that DT/authors' meetings need to be explained and
discussed on the list *at a time of their choosing*, which in my
experience is usually when a draft is published/updated.

> If someone else is curious, they can get involved but not in order to slow things down or throw a monkey wrench into the works. If people want to keep leaning back on 10 year old process RFCs and arguing "well thats just the way we've always done things around here" then this organization is going to continue to slow its progress even more - and its descent into irrelevancy.  There are a lot of people here (myself included) that want to evolve things because they think the IETF still has a lot to offer the industry. But if the organization won't evolve, people will take the path of least resistance and go elsewhere as they have been doing if you haven't noticed. 

This statement just confuses me as you note below we've always had ways
for folks to make progress fast -- when there's interest in doing so. 
It just seems to me that many are enamored with interims and think it's
the sole/best way of demonstrating progress between full meetings. 
Perhaps you're just saying that they're mistaken...


> 	If you want a real example of how this can actually work, watch Anees explain how Open Config has done this with just weekly phone calls and a bunch of people typing on keyboards. They've done this in less than a year, and have rough consensus and (production) running code.  This is how the IETF used to operate: people got together, hacked code and got things working.  The goal was not having meetings, but producing code with rough consensus.
> 	--Tom
>> Yours,
>> Joel
>> On 2/26/15 4:21 PM, Thomas D. Nadeau wrote:
>>>> On Feb 26, 2015:4:16 PM, at 4:16 PM, Brian E Carpenter <> wrote:
>>>> On 27/02/2015 09:08, Thomas D. Nadeau wrote:
>>>>>> On Feb 26, 2015:2:42 PM, at 2:42 PM, Benson Schliesser <> wrote:
>>>>>> Nico Williams wrote:
>>>>>>> Yes, but a record that a concall or other interim meeting took place,
>>>>>>> and who attended, even if there are incomplete or missing minutes, is
>>>>>>> important for IPR reasons.  Ensuring that such meetings are NOTE WELL
>>>>>>> meetings is (should be) a priority, and that includes ensuring that a
>>>>>>> record of that much exists.
>>>>>>> Ideally the concalls and other interims would be recorded.
>>>>>> I agree completely. My point was that meeting records (including minutes) will inevitably be incomplete, or possibly inaccurate, and that relying on the mailing list as an authoritative record is more effective.
>>>>>> Of course it is disappointing that we can't meaningfully translate voice discussions into text, in the minutes or in mailing list threads. If there were some magic tool e.g. that took better minutes then I'd be happy to use it. But otherwise, I think we just have to trust chairs to manage WG collaboration in whatever way is most effective for their WG's collaborators.
>>>>> 	The first step is to agree that an A/V recording is record enough.
>>>> It absolutely is not enough. Please see my previous message,
>>>> and the relevant rules in RFC 2418.
>>>>   Brian
>>> 	You are missing my point. RFC or not, the IETF needs to evolve.
>>> 	--Tom
>>>>> Perhaps having meetbot/txt notes that at a min include actions/decisions like we do in the issue tracker we've used for NETMOD's Yang 1.1's issues.
>>>>> 	--Tom
>>>>>> This will inevitably be suboptimal for some part of the population. (For instance, I've never been able to find an interim meeting time that fits the schedules of all attendees.) But if they (we) always revert to the mailing list for decision making then I suspect our work can remain open and transparent.
>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>> -Benson